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Choc absorbers

THE canaries that provide early warning of noxious gases in the education mineshaft have been falling to the floors of their cages with sickening thuds recently.

Gloomy reports about the death of "non-essential" conversation in primary classrooms have been interspersed with stories about how school music is being silenced by the shrill demands for improved literacy and numeracy.

Now sports tournaments in Leicester and Aylesbury are being cancelled because teachers say they cannot shoulder the organisational burden (page 5).

How sad. As we understand the pressures on schols, The TES won't blame the teachers. But it cannot be sensible to downgrade sport when the average British child consumes 17.6kg of chocolate a year and spends so much time with their head in the fridge that they risk hypothermia.

It is little consolation that a few specialist sports colleges appear to be thriving (page 10). And it becomes ever clearer that we have lost our sense of balance. It is heartening that 11-year-olds' test scores are rising (page 1) but it would be even more reassuring to know that our children are also growing up happy, healthy and strong.

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